Nearly half of Londoners have used the Elizabeth line since it opened in May 2022, a new survey suggests.
The results of a YouGov poll shared with the PA news agency indicate 45% of the capital’s residents have made at least one journey on the £19 billion railway.
That is up from 24% in July last year.
The latest survey – conducted in late January – suggested that people aged 18-24 are most likely to have used it (53%).
That is followed by those aged 25-49 at 49%, falling to 39% for the 50-64 category and just 29% for Londoners at least 65 years old.
The proportion of users who said they took a special trip out of their way to see what the railway was like has fallen from 37% in July 2022 to 25%, suggesting it has become more a part of people’s daily lives.
Commercial property news site Bisnow reported earlier this month that flexible office company WeWork has experienced an increase in demand for its locations near Elizabeth line stations since services began.
Flexible bookings at those sites rose by an average of 28% between the railway’s opening and November last year.
The Elizabeth line stretches from Reading in Berkshire and Heathrow Airport in west London to Abbey Wood in south-east London and Shenfield in Essex.
It runs via tunnels built by the Crossrail project between Paddington in west London and Abbey Wood.
More than 100 million journeys have been made on the line.
Transport for London (TfL) said on February 1 that ridership is “above expected levels” with around 600,000 daily journeys.
It added that the railway is “on track to break even” based on operating costs by the end of the 2023/24 financial year.
Crossrail suffered numerous issues including construction difficulties and complications installing signaling systems.
It was due to be completed in December 2018 and was set a budget of £14.8 billion in 2010.
The final cost has been estimated at £18.9 billion, including £5.1 billion from the Government.
YouGov questioned 1,258 adults in London from January 20-29.
A year ago today, Russian armed forces began an invasion of Ukraine that has since wreaked devastation upon the country. The numbers are staggering. Millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by the war, with tens of thousands of civilians killed or injured and thousands more troop casualties.
To mark one year since the invasion and in an act of solidary with Ukraine, Westminster City Council is renaming one of its roads. Part of Bayswater Road in W2, between Palace Court and Ossington Street, will be renamed ‘Kyiv Road’ after the Ukrainian capital.
Adam Hug, leader of Westminster City Council, explained the change:
‘The request for a new place name has come from the Ukrainian community itself. Westminster is home to Ukrainians displaced by the war, and our residents have opened their hearts and their doors to those fleeing Putin’s war machine.
‘It’s a small stretch of road, but we want to show the people of Ukraine that their struggle has a visible place in our city.’
The name change is happening today (February 24) and has been paid for by the council. If you happen to live on that stretch of Bayswater Road (unlikely, but hey) you won’t need to change your address.
It’s just one of a few events across London marking the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine. A vigil was held last night in Trafalgar Square, featuring music and speeches, while tonight Marble Arch will be lit up in yellow and blue and the Ukrainian flag will fly above Westminster City Hall. Protestors have also painted a Ukrainian flag on the road outside the Russian Embassy.
Heathrow Airport narrowed its losses sharply in 2022 amid a bounce back in travel demand, but said results were weighed on by surging cost pressures and lower passenger numbers.
The group reported underlying pre-tax losses of £684 million for last year, against losses of £1.3 billion in 2021.
It said no dividends were paid in 2022 and none are planned for 2023 as it continues to rebuild after the industry was battered by pandemic travel restrictions.
The figures also come after last summer’s major disruption for airports such as Heathrow as the aviation sector struggled to cope with staff shortages and travelers were met with sudden flight cancellations and severe delays.
But Heathrow – which is owned by Spanish group Ferrovial and investors including the Qatar Investment Authority – said passenger numbers trebled to 61.6 million, up by 42.2 million on a Covid-impacted 2021, which it claimed was the biggest increase of any major global airport.
John Holland-Kaye, the outgoing chief executive of Heathrow, said that “2022 may have been a year of recovery, but 2023 is shaping up to be a year of renewal for Heathrow”.
He added: “Our teams have already delivered a successful Christmas and half-term getaway, and with a great investment plan in place, we are determined to once again rank in the top 10 airports for service.”
Mr. Holland-Kaye announced plans earlier this month to step down later this year after nine years in the role.
He will remain in post until a successor is appointed.
The group blamed inflation and lower passenger numbers for holding back progress on its bottom line, while it also hit out at “insufficient regulated charges.”
Pandemic travel curbs were only lifted widely in March last year after two years of closures, while Heathrow was also forced to impose a cap on passenger numbers due to last summer’s staff shortages.
The cap was removed at the end of October and Heathrow said it boosted its workforce to nearly 75,000 by the end of 2022 to “get capacity, service levels and resilience back to the high levels that they were before the pandemic.”
But the group is also now grappling with industrial action after UK airports were hit by severe disruption in the run-up to Christmas, with Border Force staff staging strike action in December.
And new strikes loom for the busy Easter holiday season after the Unite union said its airport worker members would vote on whether to stage industrial action in a dispute over pay, with the outcome of the ballot due on March 17.
Heathrow also took aim at Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulated charges in its results, branding tariff plans for the next three years as “not deliverable due to errors in the CAA’s forecasts.”
The CAA controls Heathrow’s maximum airport charge and has brought in an interim tariff until it makes a final decision on charges for the next period to the end of 2026.
With space in London at such a premium, it’s pretty astonishing that a massive 40-acre patch of Earl’s Court real estate has been left untouched since 2017. That’s the year when the famous Earls Court Exhibition Centre was demolished, with English Heritage granting special dispensation allowing the historic buildings to be knocked down.
In its heyday, the exhibition centre hosted every kind of big event imaginable: the Ideal Home Show, the Brit Awards, military tattoo the Royal Tournament, Crufts dog show and even the volleyball at the 2012 London Olympics. Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and the Spice Girls all played gigs there.
When the centre’s then-owner opened discussions around demolishing the buildings in 2010, there were protests from the Earl’s Court Area Action Group. It raised objections that London would be losing a major venue, and that redevelopment would cause decades of disruption. But then-mayor Boris Johnson approved the development plans in 2013 and by 2017 all that remained of the site was rubble.
Since then, no further plans for this immensely valuable site have materialised. Four years ago, previous owner Capco’s highly controversial scheme to turn the area into a luxury housing development was abandoned. But now, the wait is over, and seriously ambitious plans have been drawn up by The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC), which comprises majority owner property investors Delancey, and Transport for London. Under the proposal, 4,500 new homes are to be built, of which 35 percent will be designated ‘affordable’ (which as we know, is no guarantee that ordinary Londoners can actually afford them). Two thirds will be for rent, many of them to students, while one third will be for sale.
The development will take the form of towerblocks surrounding a green city park larger than Trafalgar Square, laid out with woodlands and meadows. Some features of the current site are being retained: an old train shed will house cultural events and markets, while The Prince pub will be converted into workspaces. And there’s a further commitment to continue to host live music, comedy, exhibitions, and other events across multiple venues including a new space called Destination Earls Court, although the precise form this will take isn’t yet clear.
The developers also have big plans for environmental sustainability. They aim to go beyond net zero by generating energy on site and sharing it with the local area. They also aim to create a biodiverse ecosystem, recycling rainwater and planting green roofs. Only 40 percent of the site will be built on, leaving as much as possible open to the public in the form of tree-lined boulevards and green spaces.
The first phase of the project will commence in 2025, delivering the new park, 1,300 homes, plus shops, cafés and cultural activities. The full scheme won’t be completed until 2040, meaning years of disruption for local residents, as predicted. Still, with 15,000 permanent jobs being created and £100 million of spending boosting the local area, the benefits are clear: at long last, Zone 1’s final remaining patch of wasteland is returning to use.